Burning Desire to Share
"AA of the seventies was a fellowship."
I can't say about the seventies but I was a GSR in the early eighties which put me in contact with reps from half a state regularly and AA followed the program of recovery outlined in "Alcoholics Anonymous". Members of the social clubs that you talk about likely weren't interested in AA's service structure and weren't there to learn about it.
I'm sure that there are those who can keep from drinking merely leaning on those who have invested the effort needed for recovery. Does the word "Fellowship" even sound like any thing therapeutic, permanent or portable? I didn't spend the last thirty years tethered to meetings like a diabetic to insulin. I joined those first hundred who recovered and wrote a book about it. I know many others who did too. After busy, successful lives and careers we have some time to return to AA, share what we have and enjoy doing it.
Please stop trying to pass off some niche you claimed to have found as a way to recover. Two hundred a day are being killed by alcoholism and likely double that being imprisoned daily in the US alone.
I do not claim to have found some niche as a way of
recovery. That method was discovered by Bill W. when
he was compelled to use the technique when he (Bill W.)
searched out another alcoholic. The other alcoholic was
Dr. Bob. It was a simple idea of carrying (transferring) sobriety to other alcoholic. It was a
process which rarely fails, when the path is followed
thoroughly. Stop prodding or pushing new prospects.
Stop preaching. Alcoholics want to get well but you are
pushing them away by all the God talk. Leave HIW for
the prospect to eventually find when the time is right.
It has to do with Attraction not promotion, principles
One of our noted pioneers Bernard included a
definition of fellowship delivered by Canon.
You can find it on page 276 in AACA. ANONYMOUS
AA is a Fellowship as it states in the Preamble. The Program is offered as a solution but not the only solution. Our group is diverse when it comes to what people do to stay sober. In my first decade of recovery, I wasn’t always tolerant of others but, after much embarrassment and failure trying to convert members to my way of getting sober, I decided to keep quiet. I had to accept the fact I was a program bully. I had to lower my ego enough to listen to others when they shared their experience, strength, and hope and not criticize them if they didn’t talk like me. There was a happiness and joy in the rooms that escaped me. I was dead inside because I spent too much time defending the surface. When someone’s recovery didn’t look like mine I felt threatened and this is because I was insecure about my own program. By looking beyond the surface I was able to see the beauty and wisdom underneath it, which comes when people try to escape the ruins to seek respectability and dignity. These are two qualities I cannot take away from any member. Today, I don’t talk much. I listen especially to those who aren’t stuck repeating the party-line because believe I know all about that.
I don't talk much at meetings. Meeting time is limited.
Most meetings are only an hour. I personally prefer the
hour and a half meetings. It seems a lot of energy is spent
making the coffee and setting up, and then we rush out
for various reasons.
If a meeting is 60 minutes and there are twelve members
present, I feel I should limit my sharing to five minutes,
allowing every member a chance to share, if they choose to.
If one member is sharing, eleven members ought be
listening. But please do not ask me to raise my hand to
ask permission to share. I always have a "desire to share"
but I detest raising my hand as though I am still in sixth
grade. Simple solution: Round Robin. Go around the room.
Listening has an ingredient more precious than gold.
It is a means of reducing my own EGO. And listening to
others without comment, or any kind of critiquing or
criticism is a way of showing love and tolerance. Bob H
Two hundred a day are dying from alcoholism. Four hundred
imprisoned daily in the US. I believe those numbers are
reasonably accurate. Alcoholics are dying and their families
are suffering while we debate whether we are a fellowship
or a Fellowship. We have a method to recovery for any alcoholic who has a desire to get well. Dr. Silkworth and
Bill W. left us a simple method which rarely fails. This
method has nothing to do with cramming the steps down
Today's "Two Million Strong" are the product of the
Fellowship and working a TWELVE STEP PROGRAM. The other
eight million have been pushed away by the "TWO MILLION".
The doors which were open in the 1970's have been closed.
Rigidity has taken its toll. I was one of those who
helped close the doors. Today I am trying to reopen
them, but I am afraid that they are nailed shut. It may
indeed be too late.
Attraction not promotion, principles before personalities, humility and equality. These are difficult
for today's prideful members to comprehend.
My eyes were opened when I finally understood why Bill
W. and his friends rejected the 24 hour book when it was
offered to AA. That gave me the background to understand
why reading HIW aloud at meetings has been so harmful.
Our membership doubled about every ten years until
1992, reaching almost two and a half million members.
Two decades later we ought to have at least ten million
sober members in AA. We made some tragic mistakes in the
1980s decade. There are few members left who know what
those mistakes were. I suspect that most just gave up
and walked away.
I got sober in the seventies. I've got mine. But I
have a special interest in the future of AA. Bill W.
wrote that nothing could be so unfortunate for AA's future, as for us to become a religion. We have done just that.
AA has a few words to offer on the on the only requirement for membership and our primary purpose. It has a large library of words telling us how to deal with situations we don’t like and the danger of not using them. They leave it to us to choose which brings us joy.
I'm sure Tired of Hearing about Drugs is going to get lots and lots of responses on this forum. It's a perennial topic.....I don't agree with the writer, and I strongly object when people with drug use in their backgrounds (almost any alcoholic under 35 has also used illegal drugs) are made to feel unwelcome at AA meetings.
BUT I appreciated this writer's honesty when he said that he "doesn't feel safe" around "the criminal element drug addicts bring into the group...I'd trust a drunk over a drug addict any day." I think he put his finger on the strong reactions some people have. Sometimes people say "Drug talk undermines my recovery" or "Drug talk undermines the newcomer's recovery" or "Drug talk is a distraction" or "Drug talk violates the Traditions." They rarely complain that the addicts are criminal or not respectable (unlike us alcoholics). Yet that underlies a lot of the discomfort, I think. I don't think this writer believes he is going to be robbed *during* the meeting. I think that some people genuinely believe that being an alcoholic is better (more respectable, more law abiding) than being a drug addict. I may have drank for many years and ruined my life and my family's life, but by God I never broke the law!
I'm glad that people that have broke the law can join AA. Didn't Bill W and Dr Bob both drink during prohibition.
I am an alcoholic who later became addicted to prescription pain killers that was prescribed by a doctor. I'm not a criminal I pay taxes and I love my country. So don't put all addicts in that category. How many alcoholics drink and drive?,but I don't say they all do. Someone who is working and living the program should know better then to judge others. Love don't judge.
Never drove too work in the morning still impaired or just drove drunk.Never been drunk in a public place? Come on some people need to get off there high horses.
I was the one who wrote that statement, "I may have drank for years and ruined my life and my family's life, but by God I never broke the law!"
I meant it to be sarcastic. I am very sorry about the misunderstanding! I wrote that statement to point out how ridiculous it is for some alcoholics to believe they are superior to drug addicts. My belief is that some of the old timers, who object to people talking about drugs in AA meetings, secretly (or not so secretly) have disdain for drug addicts because drug addicts are from "the wrong side of the tracks." The original writer I was responding to really spelled it out. He talked about how drug addicts are the "criminal element" and how he would "trust an alcoholic over an addict any day."
Sometimes these old timers talk about how "drug talk dilutes the message" or "drug talk distracts the newcomer." That may be the motive for some, but I believe that for many that's just a cover for what they really object to. What they really can't stand is that drug addicts are different from them. Never mind that it would be impossible to find an alcoholic under 35 who did not use drugs.
I have 3 sponsees under 35 that are alcoholic and did no drugs. They had a hard time relating at AA meetings that broke our 5th tradition of singleness of purpose. Can you imagine, an alcoholic coming to AA to find recovery from alcohol who is not sure he is alcoholic hearing about meth, coke, crack, speed, and lsd? He is already looking for a reason to be different and when we talk about other addictions in AA, we are giving him a reason to leave and die. That’s why there are around 200 twelve step groups, for identification for the newcomer.
I do believe there is a difference in the mind of an alcoholic and an addict. If you took 10 normal adults and had each shoot heroin every day for 1 year, at the end of the year you would have 10 drug addicts. If you took 10 normal adults and gave them a drink every day for 1 year, at the end of that year 1 would be an alcoholic and he would deny he had a problem with alcohol.
Your making assumptions about opiat users there's lots of people who take pain killers (heroin) every day for years and are not addicts. Stop making judgements about people. Stop judging and start loving these resentments towards people is not the way for us alcoholics in AA, we can't afford it.
Thanks for your explanation I have been a little sensitive lately about feeling not as good as pure alcoholics. After meetings I've been told more then once not to introduce myself as alcoholic addict. I got the impression that if I have other problems then take it to the other fellowship. The problem is the other fellowship is not very well established in my area and my sponsor who I really admire is in AA. I think your right almost all young alcoholics are cross addicted. If the old timers keep making the young crowd feel like they are less then, the numbers who join AA will become less and less. I've heard that the city next to us the AA meetings attendances are dropping off and the other fellowship is growing. Coincidence I think not. What gets me is in Dr Bob and the old timers it says that Dr Bob had a pill problem. I myself don't want to go to the other fellowship. I think my best chance for survival is with AA and it is a life or death situation. So I'm not going anywhere I'm here to stay and long live AA.
In the big book on page 7 and page 22, drugs are mentioned. In those days, sedative=opium and was was available over the counter. Cocaine, in a famous soft drink, was available at a soda fountain or the grocery store. Some people introduce themselves by saying they are Doctor Bob's alcoholic addicts.
I'm starting to realize AA is a living thing. As a living thing it is subject to evolution. If a living thing doesn't evolve it will slowly die out. As a group conscience I think we're evolving with the times. Without change we can't grow. I'm starting to also realize some people are still fear driven they think that if there is any change, AA will die out when in reality it's the opposite. Thanks for your making me feel loved and like one not different then. Love can conquer over fear every time THANKS for your love.
If you think you are on the same track as Doctor Bob, great, just stay on it. Open your home as a free halfway house for those like yourself with drug problems as well as alcoholism. You'll likely get the wonderful results he did after a few years.
Don't worry sorry some people take longer then others to get the program.
Maybe I should it's what Dr Bob would have done and look what he accomplished. Remember what he said in his last speech love and service.
What's your point sounds like a jab. Where did they say anything about what your talking about.
I guess you've already opened your house to people in the program since you suggested it. Stop with the negative innuendos towards people. Why don't you say what you mean or would that put in in an unfavourable light. I'll say a prayer for you love not hate.
I recently hit my 365 day mark in the program. I have been feeling very isolated though. I have not been contacting my sponsor due to resentment I am having. I have not been going to meetings. I feel more alone and scared than my first day. I know that I am feeling this way as a result of not going to meetings, being of service and working the program but every time I feel like I should get up and go to a meeting I just make an excuse or crawl back into bed. I realize I have to be the driving force behind my own sobriety but I just don't where my willingness went and how to get it back. At the end of the day I am not drinking which I know is what I need to be doing but I just want to find some peace and serenity. I don't just want to be "dry"
If you are able to pray, you might want to consider asking God to be the driving force behind your sobriety. You also can ask for willingness to do whatever is necessary to stay sober.
I get to feeling the same way every 6 - 18 months, and I have been sober for over 25+ years. It somewhat natural to go through this feeling at the one and give year point, and I base that on what I have heard share at meetings or from the fellows I have sponsored.
I can only tell you my experience. Once I have found myself feeling that way, I think what were the things I did when I felt great in this program. Then I start doing those same things again. Like going to enough meetings, or spending time with my sponsor, or making a set time each night to read the B B or 12 + 12 or back issues of the Grapevine .......or when all else fails, start working with a newcomer. Like Dr. Bob would say, "You have to keep in touch with those fellows on the ward" (that being the ward in the hospital)
Now after 365 days, you have most of the tools, you just have to use them.
I'm patrick, I've been sober for 22yrs, I understand what you are saying, just know that you are dealing with fatal and progressive disease that is out to kill you and you are supplying the ammunition by isolating, get busy by getting involved in a home group, resentments are a waste of time that we can't afford, stop hiding out, there is nothing to fear, I had to pray for willingness to have a sponsor that would tell me what I need to here, not what I want too hear, get out of that bad neighborhood Your Mind, Do Not Isolate! Easy does it ! Get up Now
Congrats on achieving a year sober and for being honest about your situation Thankfully there is a forum such as this where you can get some help. I've seen lots of great comments here. I'd just say we all struggle with ups and downs in regards to meetings, sponsors, work, relationships, life...The key for me is to do what you've done here and be honest about what's going on and share that with my Higher Power and with others. There is tremendous power in that act and it tends to relieve the isolation. I learn that I am not alone; that many others have experienced what I'm going through.
It sounds like you know what you need to be doing but are having trouble doing it. Early sobriety for me was full of mood swings, depression, anxiety...I had to learn to use every tool available to navigate the minefield. This included everything in AA...prayer, meditation, Big Book, meetings, steps, sponsor, service.
I also had to learn how to live with a new body/mind that was no longer anesthetized. I could actually feel things again in an unfiltered way. This presented new challenges. Diet and exercise began to play a critical role in how I felt. SLEEP became and remains hugely important. I treasure a good night's sleep and how it revitalizes me and clears my mind.
There are tremendous gifts in sobriety. But I need to keep walking one step at a time hand hand with my brothers & sisters on the road to happy destiny to discover them.
Thanks again for sharing so honestly.
Muster all the strength you have, call your sponsor and tell them what you told us. If the resentment is about your sponsor, don't worry, they have enough sobriety to be your sponsor so they can handle whatever you have to say, it's about you anyway, right?! :-) Getting humble gives me the energy I need to ask for help...
Maybe a little depressed?
There have been many times when I have had to pray for the willingness to do the next right thing in my AA step and meeting life.
Resentments got velcro on them. They stick in my head and mess up my thinking. The old timers told me that 3 things lead to a drink...resentment, fear, and insane thinking about relationships. The only time I have wanted a drink since I got sober, was on a blazing resentment....on top of a bunch of old blazing resentments.
Doing steps 4-9 repeatedly is necessary for me to deal with my angry way of life. It made me feel very crazy to try to change my ways. But my life settled down quite a bit. At 24 years sober, I have mostly stopped shooting myself in the behind with my behavior. But, I'm a rascal, and have to be vigilant. I have wanted that daily reprieve from the insanity, and have been given the willingness that I ask for.
I woke up this morning feeling much the way you describe.
I went back to bed.
At about one year in the fellowship, I felt very much the
way you describe. I had a personal commitment to an AA
member and decided that after that commitment was completed
I would go back to drinking. I guess I had forgotten what
my last drunk was like.
The chore was done by someone else, but by that time
the decision to drink was gone. The funk had lifted.
Bill W. wrote about being depressed. He wrote about
being under emotional strain since AA started. On page
274 in The Language of the Heart book Bill wrote: quote
"I had a neurotic depression that lasted from 1943 until
1955, one from which I never fully surfaced. About three
years of this was suicidal. But the release from alcohol
had been so thorough that I was never tempted during this long siege to resort to drink. end quote.
I am grateful to Bill for writing that message for the
May 1962 issue of the AA Grapevine for us. I am grateful to you for reminding me of the article.
Bill did not drink during those years. He trudged along
and actually wrote the 12 & 12 and set up the General Service Conference in those years. I did not drink and hope to complete my 44th year on Saturday.
Bill wrote that resentment is our number one offender.
Try to remember that all of us are ill in some way. If
you are a believer of the Christian faith, you could try
praying for the person who bothers you.
In your year in the fellowship, hopefully you have a
couple of phone numbers of AA friends. If not, try to
connect with a sober member at your next meeting. Develop
a friendship. Someone you can really talk to. That is what
I did and it worked for me. Eventually I developed a network of friends. I look forward to seeing them at meetings, and in the supermarket. Don't put too much faith in sponsorship. That concept is just too limiting.
I am still looking for more peace and serenity. I don't
want to be just "dry". But I am convinced that dry is
better than wet. ANONYMOUS
Your post contains both the problem and the solution, so you simply need to do what you realize you need to do. When I get into a funk (aka depression), I recall Bill's story about fighting his depression, noting that when all else failed, work with another alcoholic would save the day. But if that solution is not enough, outside help may be appropriate, as AA is not a cure for clinical depression - in my experience.
I read in the Grapevine this month about health problems with smells like perfume and after shave etc. No where in that article did I read that the person had thought of starting a new, smell free, meeting. I think they should think about that as most of us will continue to use after shave and hair tonic with smells. I have become me and part of me is to use things my father and grand father used. These hair tonics and after shaves are part of me. This person has to learn that you cannot control others and needs to turn it over and then find ways to solve the problem like starting a new meeting and not trying to change people. Neil V. S.
"I have become me and part of me is to use things my father and grand father used."
Big Book, page 62: "Selfishness - self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles."
My father drove an automonile with no seat belts, an AM radio, manual transmission and no turn signals. He Lathered his face with a shaving brush and soap and shaved with a straight razor. Do you suggest I buy and antique auto and shave the way he did?
A frien lives in an area with a small AA population and only three meetings per week, all of them smoking meetings. She has resperatory illness and can't stand smoke, so she can't attend the meetings. and there aren't enough non smoking AAs there to start another meeting. What's your answer for her?
Some of the local meetings have started announcing at the end of the meeting that those who wish to smoke please move into the parking lot and not congregate near the door. There are those who defend their right to smoke whenever and wherever they please and 'those who have probles with smoke (or scents) can start their own meetings.'
Rather then attack others we must admit we are powerless. No way no how is everyone going to stop using hair tonic and after shave or smelly perfume. Please don't even mention the smelly coffee lately which iterates me.. Starting a smell free meeting is the only real answer. You just can't control people.... I've learned. I might even try the smell free meeting but it would be difficult.
Dear Neil V.S. If the perfume or after shave is making
another AA member uncomfortable, to the point where that
member could possibly stop coming to meetings, would
you come to meetings smell free? Personally I would.
I think we all should be considerate of everyone else
and love them enough to care for them. Note: I do not
use any aftershave. Most of those products contain alcohol
and I don't want that poison on my skin. ANONYMOUS
Yes I would consider going smell free but I guess my real point is it is easier to start a smell free meeting then to change a couple million alcoholics. We are powerless after all. No smell on my clothes from dryer sheets, no hair tonic, no after shave and I noticed lately some very strong smelling coffee at meeting. Really bad.
"Yes I would consider going smell free but I guess my real point is it is easier to start a smell free meeting then to change a couple million alcoholics."
since 1935 AA has changed more than 'a couple million' alcoholics.
It may be easy to start a smell free, or any other type meeting, in those localities with large numbers of sober alcoholics. But contrary to popular belief, there are many who don't have that luxury. Example: A friend lives in a large city with three meetings per week, all smoking meetings. She has resperatory problems and can't tolerate smoke so she can't atend those meetings. She started a non-smoking meeting which soon closed due to lack of willing alcoholics to give up their tobacco for an hour.
So I repeat, "Selfishness - self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles."
Dear noduis, Every meeting I attended in the seventies
and eighties were smoking meetings. I would leave my
clothes in the garage when I arrived home. It seemed that
I was the only non smoker in A.A. After developing a second
hand smoker's cough, around 1990, I started a non smoking
meeting. It was a small meeting with less than a dozen
each week. I found it ironic that most of them were
smokers. They just smoked outside the building.
Our state of Connecticut finally passed smoking
restrictions, and all of our regular A.A. meetings became
If your friend lives near you, I would ask you to
please consider helping her to re-start the meeting or
help start another smoke free meeting. Would it not be
wonderful if Alcoholics Anonymous could become
the altruistic society it was designed to be? Bob H. Seymour, Ct.
I remember some of the things we tried, half room smoking other non smoking breaks and I must admit even saying people wont come if we stop smoking years later AA still alive and well!
I have always felt that AA coffee is the best in the world.
I describe it as a "quality never before tasted". ANONYMOUS
I would like to see AA return to being an altruistic
society, where we were more concerned about our fellows
than about ourselves.
Hello I am fairly New to the program and recently there are some folks that have been in the program longer than myself(6mos) this Month. Every meeting I go to this 1 person seems to be saying the same things about thehigher up Ppl and conventions and Granted I think the conventions are Great idea. But is it necessary to mention gsr's and meetings closing and all it takes is 9 dollars a year from every single person to support our Groups? I know this is a program about sobriety, and there are no dues or fees. I am unemployed and have been for the past year or so and I kind of feel like this is a stab towards myself. I attempt to say hello to this person and get no response. I help out whenever I can and I share in the meetings. Sometimes I have to bite my tongue and not say anything in the meeting because it really gets to me sometimes.I clean up every meeting and I feel that this is my contribution to the facility and the group. Any Thoughts?
One of the greatest things I learned from the meetings is to not take things personally. Right or wrong, that person is sharing for them self. When I take myself out of it, I am able to hear what they (really) say and it might make sense. I try to get something out of every share - perhaps if you look for something positive this person wont upset you so much :-) I have grown to love people who at first really drove me crazy!!
I once spoke with a newcomer who had hit the bars nearly every evening after work. She was avoiding AA meetings because there were a couple of people who talked too much and said the same thing at every meeting. Having spent a bit of time in bars, I asked if everyone she encountered in the bars was pleasant and glib and a joy to be around. Of course not.
AA is full of personalities. Some we like and resonate with and others we don't. It helps if I focus on what's good about a meeting, what I get out of it and what I can add to it.
That is the result of sharing by "show of hands". Thirty
members can share in an AA meeting using what I have heard
called "Round Robin". When we ask "anyone got a burning
desire?", the talkers will talk and talk. Simply go around
the room. Advice from a real "Know It All".
I found out that the Higher Power isn't going to fix all the jerks so that I will be comfortable. Bummer..that would have made things so easy!
I have to be available to HP to be fixed and protected from drinking. The prayers on the top of page 67, and on page 552 do work in dealing with my lack of tolerance of other people's habits. They change my own energy. Also I have to be humble enough to sincerely receive the answers about what I am supposed to do in any situation. Sometimes I am not particularly grateful for the answers until after I do the footwork.
All you can do is keep your side of the street clean. Just remember that we all have so many character defects and his may just be showing thorough. You are doing a lot to help and contribute. It doesn't have to be just money which your not able to right now and that's ok. Know that you are doing your part. Hope this helps.
is this your home group? you need to find a place that is willing to listen and has that great after meeting. You can stay or go. if you decide to stay then turn it over to the god of your understanding and keep up with the service. Someone will come into your life. just don't drink and go to meetings. good things will happen, if you turn it over and let it go. This is a great vehicle to meet people. Take care, Karin
AA's membership represents a cross-section of personality types, and thus our membership includes folks who are holier than thou. The "12 Steps and 12 Traditions" describes some manifestations of those who have been around a while, including the "bleeding deacons." I try to keep in mind that whoever got up earliest this morning has been sober the longest. However, I have found meetings frequented by those on whom the steps have imparted a little humility, a lot of gratitude, and a lot of tolerance - may you find such meetings yourself. The meeting I first walked into had monitors that would typically say as they passed the basket, "Throw a buck in if you have one; if you don't, keep coming back and someday you will." That was just a small part of the hope they gave me.
Read “Tradition accountability” posted in Traditions on this site. Excellent information.
Nobody in AA is bigger than that sign on the wall which tells us among other things:
Tradition 3 “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.”
So is there a requirement for paying dues? No.
Are you a member if you say you are and have a desire to stop drinking? Yes.
Is your GSR required to be recovered, friendly, well, polite or even sane? No. In fact, if you think about it, all of us are here because of our shortcomings not our assets. Aren’t we? “Yeah, but he should…” just like frogs should have wings so they don’ bump their little butts on the ground but they don’t. If we admit that we can’t manage our own lives we sure can’t manage his. If we take his viewpoint for a minute it is easy to see a room full of people who have been spending thousands every year to stay drunk that have it but won’t spend a few bucks to get what they need to stay sober. In general, that’s true. If he can’t see the occasional exception them he’s got a problem. Leave it with him. He could be mad because he used to have hair like yours before he went bald. How are your mind reading skills in the rest of your life?
Maybe when you get to your fourth step, and hopefully soon, you will take a look at being oversensitive. You are willing to hurt yourself with a growing resentment because you think someone has unrealistic expectations for you. We are told on no uncertain terms that’s something we can’t afford.